Food prices throughout the world are soaring. Basic food staples like rice, wheat, corn and soybeans are all up by high double-digits. For example, the cost of rice is up by a whopping 68% since just the beginning of this year. The cost of wheat is up about 30% and corn isn't far behind. Soybeans have experienced double-digit price hikes as well.
Additionally, world stockpiles of basic grains like wheat, rice and corn also are at their lowest levels in nearly a decade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the World Bank, the U.N World Food Program, and other sources.
This combination of soaring prices for the food commodities, combined with dramatically reduced stockpiles, also is creating a psychology among governments and consumers that shortages may loom even greater.
The people being hurt the most by the soaring cost of food are the world's poorest. Rationing is occurring in some countries and in many others people don't have enough money to even buy a loaf of bread to feed their families for the day.
Further, food riots have broken out in places like the Island nation of Haiti, in parts of Africa and in Egypt. The United Nation's World Food Program said this week the globe is experiencing the worse hunger epidemic in 30 years--and that it could even become the worse the organization has seen since World War II.
Even in the developed world, the soaring cost of food is affecting people. In the U.S. and Europe the price of eggs is up by 25% since January, 2008. Milk also is up by about 20% in just the last four months. Most other food products like bread and cereals made with wheat, corn, rice and soy beans--including meat and poultry which are fed corn and other grains--are increasing by double-digits as well.
There have been boycotts in Italy against the soaring price of pasta for example. And in France, thousands of consumers recently held a one-day boycott, not purchasing any baguettes, that nation's national bread.
The United Nations, World Bank and governments like the U.S., United Kingdom and other rich nations all agree there's a global food crisis going on. The reasons range from increased demand for grains and meats from rapidly-developing countries like China and India, who's people want to eat more like western peoples do, to increased use of corn for fuel rather than food, and numerous other explanations.
The food and grocery publication Natural~Specialty Foods Memo has a global food crisis special feature series today which we recommend to our readers.
The series offers numerous stories, information, analysis and opinion on the present global food crisis and where things might be headed.
Click here to view the Global Food Crisis Series at Natural~Specialty Foods Memo.
Fresh & Easy Buzz readers who want to help the poorest people in the poorest nations can make a donation to the United Nations World Food Program. To find out how you can help go to their website here.
We also suggest spending just 10 minutes or so of your time playing the online vocabulary game FreeRice.com. For every word you define correctly, sponsors give 20 grains of rice to the U.N World Food Program.
It costs you nothing--just a few minutes of your time and a little brain power. Play the vocabulary game at FreeRice.com here.
In fact, we just spent 10 minutes playing FreeRice online. Not only did we get enough words correct that it resulted in a bunch of free grains of rice being donated, but we built or vocabulary skills even more as well. We visit FreeRice.com for 10 or 15 minutes two or three times a week. The individual effort adds up.
We also ask our readers to email this piece from Fresh & Easy Buzz--with the links to FreeRice.com--to all those people on your email list.
Imagine if we can get a couple thousand people all playing FreeRice.com for just 10 or 15 minutes each in the next couple days. That could mean lots of free rice for hungry people.
And, remember, all the rice donated to the U.N World Food Program from the FreeRice online game is paid for by the sponsors, who's names you can see across the bottom of the FreeRice web page. All it takes for you to help is a little bit of your time--and you don't even have to leave your PC where you are reading this to do it.